Workflow - A play with apes and crafts

May 17.2018 - CC Sint-Niklaas + WARP Art Projects - Sint-Niklaas

Initiator: Wim Wauman

This seminar is organised on the occasion of a curated exhibition WORKFLOW which questions, presents and documents (through an accompanying publication) the ambiguity and potential of the notion of workflow within contemporary art. It is organised by Wim Wauman and related to his PhD research on the apparent conflict between making and thinking: Making Waves: A Play with Arts and Crafts.

‘Workflow’ mostly refers to the deliberate, rational organisation of work, primarily in the context of manufacturing.  It usually consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organisation of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information.

Traditionally, the process of making was characterised by continuity in time and space. Artisans/artists relied on skills acquired through years of practice and developed a tacit understanding of how to ‘do it right’. In fact, the psychological term ‘flow’ is extremely apt when describing the working activity of artisans: ‘flow’ refers to a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Instead of being a highly schematised and pre-patterned activity, a workflow in this sense denotes an intuitive stream of thoughts and actions following a path of discoveries.

During this seminar we will focus on both traditional and innovative artistic production strategies and seek to identify the benefits of schematised production procedures as opposed to a practice which relies on intuition/skills. How can we define ‘skill’ in an era of mass production? How do artists, guided by intuition, respond to urgent social matters of sustainability, or criticise consumerism? The key argument is that the way we deal with objects and with others is inextricably linked to our social visions.

Contributions by:

  • Wim Wauman
  • Bert Schepers
  • Lex van Lith
  • Eric van Hove
  • Michael Petry
  • Pier Luigi Tazzi

Venue: CC Sint-Niklaas (Tentoonstellingszaal Zwijgershoek) + WARP Art Projects, Sint-Niklaas


Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (AP) and WARP


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